Goblins, No Mittens

Y’all, I have mittens I’ve been meaning to show you, but camera batteries, blah, blah, excuses, and I still haven’t taken any pictures.

In the meantime, I’ll distract you with Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor. This is one of those books it seemed the entire internet read en masse and loved, which is usually a sure sign I won’t love it as much as everyone else. I think because too much enthusiasm just raises my expectations to the point where no book will ever meet them ever, so I am inevitable disappointed. I’m pretty sure the only reason I enjoyed Harry Potter is that my mom bought me the first book before I’d ever heard of it and said “I hear this is what all the cool kids are reading these days.”

(You will note that apparently my mom was a cooler kid than me.)

Anyway, I don’t mean to be all parade-rainy because I did enjoy the book. For those of you who don’t spend your internet time on book reviews, it’s about Maia (who is only half goblin) who unexpectedly inherits the throne after his father and brothers die in an airship crash. So he has to move to court and start acting imperial and using the royal we.*

The thing that brings it down for me is that Maia himself is kind of bland. It’s one of those books that says “Dear Reader, You are a nice person, yes? You try to do the right thing? You have no idea what’s going on or who any of these people are? Why this dude practically is you! Step into his shoes and let’s explore this world and it’s politics.” Which is just not my favourite approach. I don’t want to become my protagonists, I want to wish I could invite them for a beer. Surely Maia would be perfectly nice in that scenario and try not to accidentally say something embarassing, but I ask a little more of my drinking buddies. The secondary characters are much more interesting; I find myself wondering why this book isn’t about, say, Maia’s star-gazing half sister. She seems cool.

*Although it’s not actually the royal we since everyone uses the first person pleural to be formal and it took a good hundred pages for my eye to stop twitching at the sight of it. Similarly, I also hate the singular vous in French. I’m trying to be respectful; I don’t think you are five people.

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2 Responses to Goblins, No Mittens

  1. Pingback: How To Speeks Goblin| Boss

  2. Totally fair criticism. About a third of the way into the book, I had to gently nudge my priorities so that I could enjoy the book for what it was (excellent machinations!) instead of pining about what it wasn’t (interesting characters I could engage with).

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